In the U.S., most moms receive very little time at home with their newborns before they have to return to work. Many mothers who breastfeed their babies do so anywhere from a few months to even past their first birthday. That means many women who go back to work while they’re still breastfeeding.
If you’re in this situation, you need to know that you have rights. You may want to apprise yourself of those rights so that you’ll be clear about them in case you face issues at work.
What does federal law say?
The Fair Labor Standards Act contains the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law. This law outlines how employers must provide nursing moms with an opportunity to pump during their workday. It does specify that employers aren’t required to compensate workers when they take breaks to express their breast milk unless they typically compensate other employees for their rest periods, though.
This law also outlines how employers must provide their breastfeeding employees with a private place to pump. This place can’t be a restroom and that it has to include a flat surface on which the breastfeeding employee can place their pumping equipment. This federal law notes that the area doesn’t have to lock if an employer can provide assurances to the employee that no one will disturb them while pumping.
What to do if your employer denies you an opportunity to express milk
You should alert your employer if you wish to seek protection under this federal law. You may be eligible to take legal action against your employer for discriminating against you if they fail to abide by the law. An attorney will want to know more about your situation before advising you of your right to pursue legal action in your case.